Sirona Technologies, Cella and Great Carbon Valley to partner on Kenyan DAC Hub

Publish Date:
March 6, 2024
Sirona Technologies, Cella and Great Carbon Valley to partner on Kenyan DAC Hub

Sirona Technologies, Cella, and Great Carbon Valley (GCV) have announced a pioneering tripartite partnership aimed at establishing one of the first Direct Air Capture (DAC) Hubs in Kenya, to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and fight climate change. This collaboration marks a significant milestone in the global effort to combat climate change by scaling up carbon removal initiatives in Africa.

A pivotal technology for Net Zero

DAC technology, which directly removes CO2 from the ambient air, is recognized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) as a crucial component in achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050. After massive emissions reduction, DAC will contribute to remove hard-to-abate and historical emissions from the atmosphere. The IPCC and IEA scenarios expect direct air capture to remove at least 1GT of CO2 annually by 2050. Today, only 0.02MT DAC capacity is operational.

Sirona Technologies was founded by Thoralf Gutierrez to meet this demand for more direct air capture capacity. Founded in 2023, they design and build low capex, scalable and modular DAC technology, using first principles thinking and rapid product iteration learned at Tesla. “Building low cost machines that are rapidly deployable is our core focus and will be key to scaling direct air capture at the speed required to meet our climate goals”.

Kenya as the next African carbon removal hub

The newly announced DAC Hub will be strategically located along the Great East African Rift Valley, leveraging the region's optimal features. It is an active continental rift zone with extensive basalt formations, an ideal mineral for storing carbon. The region has also world class potential for renewable energy to power the energy-intensive DAC technology.

Cella will store the carbon by injecting it in the basalt formations where it will be permanently locked. After maturing their technology in the US, they are starting their operations in Kenya in 2024. Corey Pattison, Co-founder of Cella, expressed confidence in the partnership's potential impact. "Our decision to launch operations in Kenya is validated by the strong momentum we are witnessing," said Pattison. "Teaming up with Sirona and GCV reinforces our commitment to pioneering innovative solutions for carbon storage.”

Overseeing the project development, GCV is bringing carbon removal solutions to Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. Bilha Ndirangu, founder and CEO, emphasized the importance of building a robust carbon removal ecosystem in Kenya: “Beyond fighting climate change, we will also contribute to building a climate positive growth track record for Africa. The DAC Hub will develop a local value chain in cleantech in Kenya, including the stimulation of the renewable energy sector and the local technical job market. Doing so, we will have many co-benefits for surrounding local communities.”

Ambitious players and roadmaps aligned

The three partners will work hand in hand to develop and scale carbon capture in Kenya. They plan to build a carbon capture plant that will be operational in 2026. The objective is to make Kenya a global hub for carbon removal.

Biographies of key people

• Bilha Ndirangu founded GCV in 2023 in Kenya, after leading several development and climate initiatives in Kenya and Africa
• Corey Pattison founded Cella in 2022, after leading several sustainability projects for the World Bank
• Thoralf Gutierrez founded Sirona Technologies in 2023 in Belgium, after working as an engineer for 5 years at Tesla HQ in Palo Alto